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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Mysteries revisited: the strange case of the 1996 Churston Bigfoot

By T.K. Randall
October 14, 2022 · Comment icon 11 comments

Could the quiet rural woods of southern England hide a mystery cryptid ? Image Credit: Pixabay / jplenio
26 years ago, a spate of strange sightings befell an otherwise idyllic area of woodland in south-west England.
Stories of large bipedal hominids frequenting the remote forests of North America are nothing new, but what most people don't know is that there have been similar sightings in what is perhaps the unlikeliest of places - Torbay - a quiet and uneventful borough of Devon, England.

In 1996, a spate of peculiar sightings began to emerge in and around the Churston Woods between Paignton and Torquay, leading to the dubbing of the 'Churston Bigfoot' by the press.

The creature, which was spotted multiple times, was generally described as being around 5ft tall (a small size relative to its North American counterpart), with brown hair covering its body and - in an even more peculiar twist - a face exhibiting a distinctive green tinge.

It wasn't long before research organizations such as the Center for Fortean Zoology had started to look into the phenomenon, with director Jon Downes commenting that "this one is a real cracker because it has so much separate and credible corroboration to it."
The group's members even undertook field research to look for evidence of the creature.

"Our search in the area brought up nothing of interest unfortunately," they wrote. "We found no evidence of tree structures, branch snapping or footprint evidence."

Overall, around 15 witnesses came forward over a six-week period, but nobody was ever able to definitively explain what the creature was or why it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

Given that some of the reports had described seeing the animal swinging from tree branches, however, it seems that perhaps the most likely explanation was that it was some sort of monkey that had escaped from a zoo or private collector.

Ultimately, though, we will probably never know for sure.

Source: Devon Live | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by NCC1701 1 year ago
The picture from the 16mm film with enhanced contrast. What are your thoughts?   Spoiler A woman in a swimsuit?  
Comment icon #3 Posted by simplybill 1 year ago
The arms don’t appear to be long enough for an ape or a monkey, and the upright posture looks human. The quadricep on the left leg appears to begin widening too high above the knee.  The upper arms look well-developed, but the deltoids and the trapezius muscles appear to be under-developed in comparison. (I was into bodybuilding years ago). My best less-than-serious guess: a 5-foot gymnast wearing an ill-fitting monkey suit.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Carnoferox 1 year ago
That's Ivan Marx's bigfoot suit from the 1970's, the infamous "conehead"! It has nothing to do with the 1996 stories from England.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by fred_mc 1 year ago
Back to the 1996 case, Bigfoot is not that small (unless it is a child) and is not swinging from trees, so it doesn't sound like Bigfoot to me. An escaped monkey sounds like a likely explanation.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Alchopwn 1 year ago
This looks like the silhouette of a gunslinger from a Western movie to me.  I can see a hat, a pistol, and a gunslinger pose.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Resume 1 year ago
I see Nosferatu.
Comment icon #8 Posted by jethrofloyd 1 year ago
That was my first thought, too. More precisely, it looks like the shadowed Yul Brynner in a Western movie.
Comment icon #9 Posted by the13bats 1 year ago
Lol, no, thats one of many known hoax fakes by ivan marx, i have an old documentary on dvd hes like some hoyt axton or mark twain im saying hes fun to listen to but basically full of bull. Marx made several films even hardcore believers scoffed, marx was also involved with several tracks ( hoaxes) hailed for decades as real deal, seems the onion track was the one chilcut based his rep on being real before it was shown a hoax.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Carnoferox 1 year ago
You can watch it on YouTube too!
Comment icon #11 Posted by Harte 1 year ago

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